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Go to Bible: Jeremiah 43
|Jer 43:1||- (top)|
|Jer 43:2||- (top)|
|Jer 43:3||- (top)|
|Jer 43:4||- (top)|
|Jer 43:5||- (top)|
|Jer 43:6||- (top)|
“and they went into the land of Egypt.” They had always intended to go to Egypt (Jer. 41:17). Because of that, even though they had agreed to obey the voice of Yahweh whether His direction was something they wanted or did not want (Jer. 42:6), when Jeremiah opposed their plan they called him a liar (Jer. 43:2) and went to Egypt anyway.
“the voice of Yahweh.” It was the prophet who did the speaking, but the “voice” was Yahweh’s voice.
“as far as Tahpanhes.” The Judeans did not go very far into Egypt. Tahpanhes was on the northern border of Egypt in the northeastern Nile delta. It was a fortress city that protected the northeastern border of Egypt. It is generally thought to be the same as the Greek city of Daphne.(top)
|Jer 43:8||- (top)|
“Pharaoh’s house in Tahpanhes.” That is, Pharaoh’s palace in Tahpanhes. It is not unusual that Pharaoh would have a palace in the fortress city that guarded his northeast border.
“while the men of Judah watch.” The Hebrew is more literally, “in the sight of the men of Judah,” but that could be confused to mean that the men of Judah could see the place where the stones were. But God said to hide the stones while the Judeans watched.(top)
“he will spread his royal pavilion over them.” So the Judean’s plan to go to Egypt to escape Nebuchadnezzar would not work after all, whereas if they had obeyed the voice of Yahweh that Jeremiah spoke they would have lived and prospered.(top)
“the one who is for death to death.” The noun “death” is masculine singular, and so while in this context it refers to either man or woman, the singular indicates that each person will get what they deserve; there is no collective judgment here. Some scholars think that “death” refers to death by plague or disease, but the Hebrew is simply “death,” and it could come by many different means.(top)
“He.” Nebuchadnezzar. The “he” is preserved in the Septuagint, Syriac, and Latin texts, the change from “he” to “I” was apparently a copyist’s error that now shows up in the accepted Hebrew text. The “he” continues in the rest of the verse in the Hebrew text.
“the houses of the gods.” That is, the temples. A victor would burn the temples and carry the gods away captive to show that their own gods were superior to the gods of the conquered nation.
“and he will burn them or carry them away captive.” This is referring to the gods of Egypt. Some were wood and would be burned, while valuable gods made of gold, silver, etc., would be carried away captive. The burning of the temples is stated in Jeremiah 43:12. The belief in the gods, even the gods of other nations, was strong, and so the idols were not considered booty, but captives.
“he will clean the land of Egypt as a shepherd cleans his garment of vermin.” This translation follows definitions preferred in the HALOT Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon (cp. HCSB; ESV; NAB; NET; NLT; NRSV; RSV).(top)
“standing stones of Beth-shemesh.” In the context of Egypt, the “standing-stones” were the obelisks, of which there were many in Heliopolis. In the rest of the Middle East, most standing-stones were natural stones, or slightly worked stones, that were set up as part of the worship of pagan gods. God commanded that they be destroyed. What is noteworthy here in Jeremiah 43:13 is that it is Nebuchadnezzar, not the forces of Yahweh, that destroy the obelisks in Egypt and burn the pagan temples. Rulers knew that people drew strength from relying on their gods, and if a foreign king could destroy a country’s gods then the people were more easily defeated and controlled. Nebuchadnezzar burned the Temple in Jerusalem for the same reason. [For more on standing-stones, see commentary on Gen. 28:18. For more on idols being harmful, see commentary on Deuteronomy 7:5].
“House of the Sun.” The Hebrew is Beth-shemesh, but that means “the House of the Sun,” or, since “house” in this context can mean “temple,” it means “the Temple of the Sun.” There was also a Beth-shemesh in Judah (2 Kings 14:11), but that was a city. This “Beth-shemesh,” Temple of the Sun, was almost certainly in the city that is better known by its Greek name, Heliopolis, though it was called “On” (Gen. 41:45). Heliopolis was well know for all the obelisks there, and of the many that were there, only one remains.
“the houses of the gods.” That is, the temples of the gods.(top)